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How To Replace A Kitchen Faucet

Replacing a faucet, particularly in the kitchen where they get the most use, is a home repair task that will come up from time to time. If plumbing is not a task you are comfortable with, you do not need to be concerned. The job is easy to do with a few basic tools that any household should have on hand.

Shut off the water supply valve to the kitchen faucet. Gain access to the pipes under the sink to disconnect the water pipes from the faucet. Once disconnected, undo the lock nut that holds the faucet in place. Once loose, remove the faucet from the top. Reverse this procedure to fit the new faucet.

There are many reasons that you may want to replace a kitchen faucet. The one that is currently may be outdated, or it may be damaged and need replacement. Whatever your reason, you don’t need to get a plumber out to do this relatively simple job that you can quite easily accomplish yourself with some basic guidelines.

You Can Find A List Of Kitchen Replacement Parts Here

Planning The Faucet Replacement

As with every home repair project, planning is 80% of the requirement to get the job done correctly and successfully, with the last 20% having the right tools and materials.

If you are replacing a faulty faucet with a new one, the procedure is relatively straightforward. If, however, you are putting in a completely different set to modernize your kitchen, then there may be a few additional tasks to complete.

Make sure that the new faucets that you buy will fit in the existing holes in the sink. If your faucets are not connected to the sink but come up through the kitchen countertop, you will need to get fixtures that will be suitable for this type of fitment.

Tip: Make sure that the base thread of the new faucet that you buy is the matching size and thread for your water pipe connectors.

These are the most common tool requirements for this type of kitchen plumbing job.

  • An adjustable wrench.
  • A pair of pliers
  • Teflon tape for thread waterproofing.
  • Silicone
  • Caulking gun
  • Utility knife

Some faucets come with new water pipes that you can connect to the shut-off valves under your sink. If they do not come with new pipes, it would be a good idea to invest in a new set of pipes simultaneously.

This is unnecessary, but you may as well replace the pipes while crawling under the sink to replace the faucet and be sure that the pipes will not leak.

With the job planned and all the tools and materials in place, it is time to get down to the task of replacing the faucet.

Replacing The Kitchen Faucet

There are several steps where the procedures will vary depending on the type of faucet installed in your kitchen and the layout and type of plumbing. The general concepts will, however, remain the same for all types of faucets.

Shut Off The Water Supply Valve To The Faucet

Open the underside of the sink to gain access to the pipes and connectors that are supply water to the faucets above. There will usually be two shut-off valves against the back wall that control the hot and cold water supply pipes.

Turn these valves to the off position. You probably won’t need any tools to do this, but sometimes these valves are hard to move due to lack of use. You can apply your pliers to move the valves if necessary.

This is one step where you may find your plumbing is different. You may have only one shut-off valve under the sink for one of the water lines, or you may have no shut-off valves.

You will need to follow the water lines until you find a valve that will shut off the water, or you may have to shut off the main water valve that supplies your entire home.

Warn other people living in your house that you will switch off the water supply to the entire house to plan for their bathroom needs.

With the water supply shut off, open the kitchen faucet to drain the water in the pipes.

Remove The Old Kitchen Faucet

Disconnect the water supply pipes from the underside of the faucet. The space to do this is usually quite tight and difficult to gain access to with large wrenches.

You may have to experiment and try a few different varieties of wrenches out till you find one that will fit in the available space.

In some cases, you may not have the right size wrench. In a pinch, you may successfully get a strong pair of pliers into the space and loosen the connector nut in this way.

Once the pipes are disconnected, be careful, there may still be water in the pipes. Point the end of the pipes down into a plastic container to drain them out.

If you are replacing the connector pipes, now would be a good time to remove them from the shut-off valves. Hold the valve side securely in place with the pair of pliers while you undo the nut that secures the connector pipe. This will prevent the valve and pipe from twisting and possibly sustaining damage.

The main part of the faucet will be secured by one or more locking nuts under the sink. This is another tight space that is often difficult to negotiate with wrenches, but you will get them loose with a bit of tenacity perseverance.

Once again, your pliers, or a pair of locking pliers, sometimes called vice-grips, can come to your rescue in this tight space.

Once the locking nuts are off, the faucet assembly should come away from the top of the sink fairly easily.

Clean off the top of the sink where the old faucet was positioned. There may be some old silicone in this area that was used as a sealant. Scrape the old silicone off with a utility knife.

Fitting The New Faucet

Depending on the fitment style of your new faucet, you may be able to fit the new water pipes to the bottom of the faucet before fitting the faucet to the sink. This makes the fitment of the pipes much easier if it can be done without climbing under the sink.

Use Teflon waterproofing tape around the threads before you fasten the pipes to the underside of the faucet. This will help to prevent any leaks at this join.

Tip: Wind the Teflon tape on the thread in the same direction you will be turning the nut, usually clockwise. This will prevent the nut from unraveling the tape as it moves down the thread. 

Then, pass the pipes through the top of the sink as you put the new faucet in place. Once the faucet is in place, from the underside, slip the locking nut over the end of the loose end of the pipes if your faucet is secured in this way.

Before you tighten the faucet assembly down, you may want to place some silicone under the assembly on top where it meets the sink. This will waterproof the unit and prevent water from wicking down and leaking into the space below the sink.

Fit the securing nuts and tighten them up to hold the faucet assembly firmly in place. Wipe away any silicone squeeze-out on top of the sink.

Reconnect The Water Supply

Re-fit the opposite end of the water supply pipes to the water shut-off valves. Once again, use the Teflon tape to waterproof the threaded coupling to prevent any leaks at this point.

Use the same procedure you used to remove the pipes from the shut-off valves; secure the valve with pliers while tightening the pipe with a wrench.

Turn the shut-off valves to the on position and thoroughly check all pipes and connection points for leaks. Should you find leaks, it will most likely be where the pipes are joined to the shut-off valves or the faucet.

Simply tightening the connections with another turn or two of the nut should be sufficient to stop the leaks.

If the leaks persist, you may have to remove the pipe where it is leaking and apply more Teflon tape to the thread. Once the leaks are all addressed, your job is complete! 

Conclusion

As you can see, replacing a kitchen faucet is not as difficult a task as you may perceive. It is also a relatively easy home repair project that you should accomplish in an hour or two.

Fitting faucets yourself is good because then you know how they work, and if something goes wrong with the plumbing, you will be able to save yourself some money and fix the problem on your own.

So once you have replaced your kitchen faucet, pack away your tools, pat yourself on the back for not calling out a plumber and crack open a cold drink! You deserve it!